Autopsies Resume at County Coroner's Office

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After a five day work stoppage at the El Paso County Coroner's Office, autopsies have resumed.

The Coroner stopped autopies on Friday over a pay dispute with county commissioners. Even though they're close to working out a short term deal, one county commissioner is calling on the Coroner to step down.

El Paso county commissioners are meeting tomorrow, and they're expected to ratify an interim agreement with the Coroner. However, that isn’t not good enough for one commissioner. County Commissioner Tom Huffman said, “I challenge Dr. Bowerman to resign. Do the people of this county a favor. Do the right thing and resign.” Huffman says the Coroner, Dr. David Bowerman, has been holding bodies and families hostage by refusing to do to do autopsies. “It is not the county commissioners’ responsiblity to do autopsies,” said Huffman. “It is the elected Coroner's responsibility. He has mis-served the people of this county by allowing this to happen.”

Though autopsies resumed today, two police investigations were held up due to the work stoppage. The dispute was over money. The Coroner's office was charging $900 per autopsy, which is a figure county commissioners never agreed to. Huffman says, “This is just one more example of Dr. Bowerman being willing to sacrifice the people of this county for his own wealth. He's been doing it for years.”

Both sides now say an interim agreement has been reached. The county will pay $750 per autopsy. No deal has been made on a long-term contract.